Downtown Johnstown businesses are gearing up for Thunder in the Valley, and many merchants said they are changing their hours and menus during the motorcycle rally, which will begin Thursday.
Angelo DiRosa, owner of Capri Pizza, 502 Main St., said that the business will be taking advantage of the potential for increased foot traffic by extending its hours during the event.
“We try to take advantage of anything that is ever thrown our way because it doesn’t happen very often,” he said, “so we try to take advantage of when we can stay open later and get more business.”
DiRosa said the restaurant will have special menu items for Thunder.
“We’ll probably do some kind of barbecue chicken or some ribs or stuff like that for, like, special items,” he said, noting that the shop is normally open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but will be serving into the evening Thursday and Friday and open all day Saturday – depending on the weather..
“Whatever time the show stops over at (Central Park) is usually when we close up,” he said. “That’s usually how we work it. ...We’re definitely going to try to take advantage of it and definitely going to try to drum up as much business as we possibly can from it.”
Tower of Pizza owner Karen Taranto said that the restaurant at 145 Franklin St. will be extending hours, staying open until 8 or 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and also will be open on Saturday.
“It’s usually pretty good, and everybody says it’s going to be bigger than ever because of last year being skipped,” Taranto said. “We’re looking forward to that.”
Just outside downtown, The Freight Station, 20 Matthew St., will have a lineup of bands and vendors throughout the weekend. Friday will feature performances by FUSE, SourMash and Hair Force One. On Saturday, acts This Indecision, Bad Mother Trucker and Three Legged Dog will be on the stage.
“We’ll do two out on the deck and the late-night one inside because of the city noise ordinance,” the owner said. “We have our own T-shirts for Thunder – it’s Thunder at the Freight Station. We had a bunch of those printed up, and we brought in a slushie machine so there will be adult slushies. We’ll have a food vendor out there.”
Other booths could feature vendors offering jewelry, helmets, clothing, LED lighting and cigars.
‘Happy that it’s back’
The Holiday Inn Johnstown-Downtown, 250 Market St., will be having complimentary bike washes for those staying at the hotel, according to Melissa Radovanic, director of marketing and community relations. She added that dinner buffets will be offered nightly at Harrigan’s Cafe and Wine Deck and that the restaurant’s outdoor patio bar will be open nightly beginning Thursday, weather permitting.
Balance Restaurant, 415 Main St., will be hosting “The First Lady of Thunder, Jasmine Cain,” for a ticketed event Thursday in the Mission Inn event space. Tickets are $60.
“People need to purchase tickets, and then it’s going to be limited to about 70 people, and she’s going to be signing autographs and she’s going to do an acoustic show, and dinner is included as well,” co-owner and general manager Amanda Artim said.
Tickets will include two alcoholic beverages and a two-course meal and can be purchased at thebalancerestaurant.com.
Balance will also have performances from Even the Odds 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday and from Silver Screen Thunder Show 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. A cover charge may apply for the performances.
“We’re just going to be staffed and excited and ready to go,” Artim said. “We’re happy that it’s back.”